Wednesday, 27 May 2020
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Workplace Relations Commission
389. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the procedures pertaining to employment and workplace disputes as a consequence of a number of circumstances (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7348/20]
The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) is an independent, statutory body under the aegis of my Department, established on 1st October 2015 under the Workplace Relations Act 2015. The WRC’s core services include the inspection of employment rights compliance, the provision of information, adjudicating on complaints under employment protection, equality and industrial relations legislation and the provision of mediation, conciliation, facilitation and advisory services. Similar to many other public bodies, the Covid-19 pandemic has presented a challenge to the WRC in relation to the delivery of its core services.
The WRC publishes regular information updates on its website in relation to its service provision which includes receiving and processing matters pertaining to individual and collective issues. In relation to complaints to the Adjudication Service, where a complaint is submitted electronically, the date of receipt is recorded automatically which enables an Adjudication Officer to note the receipt date in terms of any consideration of statutory timeframes. In instances where hard copy correspondence is lodged, the WRC has in place arrangements for such correspondence to be processed by certain staff who attend the office to date stamp, scan and process it.
Following a recent public consultation process, the WRC has announced how it proposes to process such complaints during the current pandemic. The service delivery options envisage a combination of mediation, written procedure, remote “virtual” hearings. The WRC is planning for the re-introduction of limited face-to-face hearing mediation consistent with the Roadmap for Re-opening Society and Business and the Return to Work Safely Protocol. It is expected that it will be late July or early August when the WRC will be in a position to start remote virtual hearings.